"Are you saved?" How do YOU deal with these types of questions - page 5

I would love to hear from some more experienced ppl some ways to deal with these types of personal questions. In my region, there are many devout evangelical Christian people who I think are... Read More

  1. by   grimmy
    [font=book antiqua]having grown up (and still am) a unitarian-universalist, i typically answer these types of questions with "in what way?" if requested, i will pray with a patient and their family, but not lead the prayer in any way. if asked where i go to church, i will state that is a personal matter i wish to remain so. i try to keep my relationship to any particular deity a personal matter not up for discussion, though i will happily listen to any patient talk about theirs.
  2. by   porterwoman
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    And remember if you start it, you got to keep it up, that means be prepared to speak "Jesus" talk each and everytime you walk in the room.
    May I ask how long have you lived in NC?
    Mmm, yes yes yes, good point. Setting a precedent that could get to be a problem later on. Yeah, I think sticking with the "I can't help you but I can find someone who can" line is a better strategy. Thanks, SharonH.
    I've been in NC since I was 8. I'm 29 now. I'm pretty far west of Asheville. Asheville is a very cool, very diverse town. The far western counties are not so diverse, but there are pockets of people I can relate to.
  3. by   fotografe
    Asking me about religion is like asking me if I had sex last night. It is so deeply personal. I liked the response about Jesus being important to the patient, but I would never ask them to tell me more about it. I probably turn red, stammer and say something to the effect I don't discuss religion. It just really creeps me out to discuss something like that with strangers.
  4. by   live4today
    I never discuss my beliefs unless prompted to do so by my patients. If they ask me if I believe in the power of prayer, I tell them yes, very much so. Often times, the patients just want to know if their nurse is a person they can count on to encourage them in the way that is comfortable for them to relate to. They are not trying to insult a nurse by asking about their belief system. We shouldn't take it so personally. Keep it professional...it is NOT about us...it is about each individual patient we care for...body, mind, and soul....holistically so.

    I have patients that are often from a different belief system than myself. I am not offended by their belief system, and it does not cause me to care for them any differently than those patients who are of my belief system.

    I've knowlingly cared for patients who are of various belief systems, and if they ask me to think good thoughts for them, I tell them I sure will. If they ask me to pray for them -- with them -- I will right then and there. It's what the patient wants to feel better, heal better........again...it is NOT about me.......or us as their nurses.
  5. by   danu3
    Quote from LPN1974

    Marital status, age, # of children, things like that is too much information for complete strangers to be asking.
    I mean, that person might be a serial killer/rapist/stalker that might show up on your doorstep. Who knows why they want that information?
    True, one does want to think about personal safety also. Depending your area, these kind of questions could also be cultural (sometimes it is just the patient is nosy also). Especially if the patient is elderly and is from a more traditional Oriental culture. Asking if one is married and how many kids is part of the "breaking the ice" (as another poster mentioned earlier) which we (those of us who grew up in the US) will usually feel very uncomfortable.

    This brought back memory of an extreme example in a social linguistic I took way back when. It is a case of your neighbors borrowing sugar.

    You have a good neighbor from Asia who is elderly who wants to borrow some sugar. She comes over and you two sat down and talk. She started by asking how is your husband, how is your kids, how is your dog and cat, and finally how are you. You two talked for about 1/2 an hour before she went "Oh, by the way, I ran out of sugar, is it ok if I borrow some?"

    After this, you have another neighbor come by who grew up in the US and also needed some sugar. She went "Hi, can I borrow some sugar? I ran out."


    -Dan
  6. by   danu3
    Quote from porterwoman
    In my region, there are many devout evangelical Christian people who I think are genuinely concerned about the state of my soul. When folks like this are in the hospital, they're also feeling vulnerable, and they probably want to discuss their faith with someone who can help them feel more grounded. I am not necessarily that person.
    I get the questions, "Are you saved?" "What church do you go to?" "Have you accepted Jesus as your lord and savior?" etc. frequently in the hospital where I work. 1. I don't believe my personal religious stuff is my patients' business. 2. I do not want to be dishonest about my personal religious/lack of religious stuff.
    So far, the best I've come up with is, "It sounds like Christ is important in your life. Tell me more about that."
    Thoughts? Opinions?
    Rebecca, that agnostic porterwoman
    I am rereading your original post. It looks like we (myself included) went all over the place as it does touch some emotional buttons for many of us.

    From your post, it looks like:
    • You are giving the benefit of the doubts to the patients - they meant well.
    • You try to look beyond the questions and look at their intent, their heart.
    • You try to be understanding as they are vulnerable.
    • You realize some of them may have some spiritual needs.
    • You are not offended by their asking, just uncomfortable because you, again, try to look at the heart.
    Now your problem is:
    • You have a tension between keeping your religiouis beliefs private and telling the truth to the patient (about your beliefs which is different than the patient).
    • Instead of dismissing your patient's question, you want to answer in a way that is of some benefit to the patient and at the same time uphold your privacy.

    Summary accurate or not?


    I think there are a few posts already which possibly address the above problems. As another poster mentioned already, it is important to keep it professional. I would, however, add another point to it. Keep it professional in a way that is caring. Don't do it in a professional way that is distant and cold (e.g. you are extremely efficient at all the procedures but you give the impression that you are treating the patient just like a piece of meat). From rereading your original post, I think you have a good heart.



    -Dan
  7. by   danu3
    Quote from fotografe
    asking me about religion is like asking me if i had sex last night. it is so deeply personal. i liked the response about jesus being important to the patient, but i would never ask them to tell me more about it. i probably turn red, stammer and say something to the effect i don't discuss religion. it just really creeps me out to discuss something like that with strangers.
    i can just see this, the patient asked you about a very personal religious question... you turn red... stammer, and said "i don't discuss sex..." covered your mouth with your hands in horror, turned bright red enough to light up the room, ran out of the room. :chuckle


    -dan
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from fotografe
    Asking me about religion is like asking me if I had sex last night. It is so deeply personal. I liked the response about Jesus being important to the patient, but I would never ask them to tell me more about it. I probably turn red, stammer and say something to the effect I don't discuss religion. It just really creeps me out to discuss something like that with strangers.
    Don't work around some of our night shift nurses . . . . they will tell you quite a bit about their sex lives. :wink2:

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Apr 4, '05
  9. by   Quailfeather
    I suppose that if a patient asked me, "Are you saved?", I would have to reply with, "No, I'm spent." It would be a truthful answer on most days.

    Actually, I do have a button that says, "Unsaved...and loving it!" However, I don't think it would be a good idea to wear it to work, especially working in a Catholic hospital. I already received a brow-beating several years ago for wearing a button that said, "I'm not your type....I have a pulse."
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from stevielynn
    Don't work around some of our night shift nurses . . . . they will tell you quite a bit about their sex lives. :wink2:

    steph
    Way easier to put a stop to that, than the "saved" questions, though.
  11. by   nurse_1098
    originally posted by cheerfuldoer
    I've knowlingly cared for patients who are of various belief systems, and if they ask me to think good thoughts for them, I tell them I sure will. If they ask me to pray for them -- with them -- I will right then and there. It's what the patient wants to feel better, heal better........again...it is NOT about me.......or us as their nurses.
    If Prayer is something that you do then your approach works well, for those that do not pray there needs to be a way to get around that prayer request tactfully, and that is where the line "I'll keep you in my thoughts" comes in handy. One can not truthfully say they will pray if they do not have prayer as a part of their belief system.
    Last edit by nurse_1098 on Apr 4, '05
  12. by   danu3
    Quote from nurse_1098
    If Prayer is something that you do then your approach works well, for those that do not pray there needs to be a way to get around that prayer request tactfully, and that is where the line "I'll keep you in my thoughts" comes in handy. One can not truthfully say they will pray if they do not have prayer as a part of their belief system.
    That is a good point. Not everyone feel comfortable praying for a patient (even Christians). But nurses are to recognize "spiritual distress" at a minimum. If a patient is in some kind of "spiritual distress" and ask for prayer, a reply of keeping you in my thuoghts is not going to help the patient. Having the nurse pray anyway while the nurse is not comfortable with it is not going to help either because the patient can most likely feel it. Also it is not good for the nurse.

    This is where working in an environment where you have good team work comes in handy because it would be good if you can get another nurse who is comfortable praying to pray with the patient. Actually it does not have to be a fellow nurse, can be anyone who is caring for the patient from the doctor to a CNA. Ideally, someone from the chaplaincy but in most cases you can't get a chaplain right away as they are running all around the hospital like everyone else.

    Actually that might be something interesting to bring up at one's place of work. Can we have sort of designated people who feel comfortable praying with the patient when the patient request it. If the team is diverse enough, maybe you can even designate different types like Jewish, Christian, Muslim, ... etc. Also as mentioned already, not all religion "pray" some prefer "meditation" of some kind instead.

    -Dan
  13. by   danu3
    Quote from Quailfeather
    I

    Actually, I do have a button that says, "Unsaved...and loving it!" However, I don't think it would be a good idea to wear it to work, especially working in a Catholic hospital. I already received a brow-beating several years ago for wearing a button that said, "I'm not your type....I have a pulse."
    I think you need to remember most people do not have the warp sense of humor that some nurses have. I truely don't know which of your bottons is worst...

    -Dan

close